Rock Music

From Wind Repertory Project
Alex Shapiro

Alex Shapiro

Subtitle: For Concert Wind Band and Pre-recorded Soundscape

General Info

Year: 2016
Duration: c. 4:35
Difficulty: II+ (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Activist Music, through Hal Leonard
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $80.00   |   Score Only (print) - $15.00


Full Score
Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Glockenspiel
  • Rocks (two small rocks for each player)
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Vibraphone

Laptop computer


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

a geo-electroacoustic piece
for concert wind band and prerecorded track.
And... rocks.

- Program Note from publisher

Music doesn't have to be experienced as an element separate from the rest of our daily lives. It's as much part of our world as the ground on which we walk. Composing Rock Music was the perfect opportunity to make this point about the geology of our planet, and the changes in climate that are permanently altering our landscape.

In my ongoing desire to encourage people to step away from their screens and go outdoors, I asked the students of Patrick Marsh Middle School in Sun Prairie, Wisc., to venture out into their neighborhoods, lower their gaze to the substrate on which they walk, find a pair of rocks, discover sounds that can be coaxed from them, and record the results. My inbox was soon filled with nearly 100 mp3s sporting a stunning variety of geological sonic creativity. Many of those sounds, some with distinct pitches and rhythms, are the basis of the accompaniment audio track over which Rock Music is composed.

In parallel to this holistic vision, band director Chris Gleason invited a scientist from the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey to give a talk to the band students. Brandishing a 3D map that displayed the state's varying terrain, she spoke of the glaciers that transformed the students' locales— and mine, on San Juan Island, WA— 15,000 years ago. The students then made video reports that paired their newfound knowledge of local geology with their individual recipes for eliciting sounds from rocks. They also created a video to accompany their performance of the piece that includes images of polluting factories and transportation. It culminates with sobering footage of an enormous glacier calving, just as the music reaches its loudest, most powerful point. As massive chunks of ice collapse into the water, the audience is reminded of the fragile balance between nature and the actions of humans.

Throughout this geo-electroacoustic piece, the music slowly crawls, melts, and scrapes over a sonic landscape in random, irregular ways: much as the glaciers carved the world we know. And as with our world, the piece's ending slowly melts away to a haunting silence.

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Alex Shapiro website Accessed 17 May 2019
  • The Horizon Leans Forward…, compiled and edited by Erik Kar Jun Leung, GIA Publications, 2021, p. 468-469.
  • Shapiro, A. (2016). Rock Music : For Concert Wind Band and Pre-Recorded Soundscape [score]. Activist Music: Friday Harbor, Wash.